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Jazz - Released June 17, 1964 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1986 | Columbia - Legacy

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This is the official soundtrack from the movie Round Midnight. Although tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon (who is actually on only five of the 11 songs) was past his prime, his realistic acting gained him a nomination for an Oscar. In addition to Gordon, this historic and generally well-rounded album has performances by pianists Herbie Hancock and Cedar Walton, vocalist Bobby McFerrin, bassists Ron Carter and Pierre Michelot, drummers Tony Williams and Billy Higgins, guitarist John McLaughlin, trumpeters Freddie Hubbard and Chet Baker, Wayne Shorter on tenor and soprano, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, and a vocal by Lonette McKee. [The 2002 reissue adds a live version of the title cut.] © TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released October 11, 1974 | SMSP

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Jazz - Released May 28, 1962 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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Jazz - Released March 1, 1965 | Blue Note

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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released October 26, 1973 | Columbia - Legacy

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Head Hunters was a pivotal point in Herbie Hancock's career, bringing him into the vanguard of jazz fusion. Hancock had pushed avant-garde boundaries on his own albums and with Miles Davis, but he had never devoted himself to the groove as he did on Head Hunters. Drawing heavily from Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield, and James Brown, Hancock developed deeply funky, even gritty, rhythms over which he soloed on electric synthesizers, bringing the instrument to the forefront in jazz. It had all of the sensibilities of jazz, particularly in the way it wound off into long improvisations, but its rhythms were firmly planted in funk, soul, and R&B, giving it a mass appeal that made it the biggest-selling jazz album of all time (a record which was later broken). Jazz purists, of course, decried the experiments at the time, but Head Hunters still sounds fresh and vital decades after its initial release, and its genre-bending proved vastly influential on not only jazz, but funk, soul, and hip-hop. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released August 15, 1976 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz - Released March 26, 1991 | Columbia - Legacy

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Herbie Hancock completely overhauled his sound and conquered MTV with his most radical step forward since the sextet days. He brought in Bill Laswell of Material as producer, along with Grand Mixer D.ST on turntables -- and the immediate result was "Rockit," which makes quite a post-industrial metallic racket. Frankly, the whole record is an enigma; for all of its dehumanized, mechanized textures and rigid rhythms, it has a vitality and sense of humor that make it difficult to turn off. Moreover, Herbie can't help but inject a subversive funk element when he comps along to the techno beat -- and yes, some real, honest-to-goodness jazz licks on a grand piano show up in the middle of "Auto Drive." © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released September 27, 1988 | Columbia

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Perhaps the funkiest album of Herbie Hancock's early- to mid-'70s jazz/funk/fusion era, Man-Child starts off with the unforgettable "Hang Up Your Hang Ups," and the beat just keeps coming until the album's end. "Sun Touch" and "Bubbles" are slower, but funky nonetheless. Hancock is the star on his arsenal of keyboards, but guitarist Wah Wah Watson's presence is what puts a new sheen on this recording, distinguishing it from its predecessors, Head Hunters and Thrust. Others among the all-star cast of soloists and accompanists include Wayne Shorter on soprano sax, Stevie Wonder on chromatic harmonica, and longtime Hancock cohort Bennie Maupin on an arsenal of woodwinds. © Jim Newsom /TiVo
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Jazz Fusion & Jazz Rock - Released September 6, 1974 | Columbia - Legacy

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The follow-up to the breakthrough Headhunters album was virtually as good as its wildly successful predecessor: an earthy, funky, yet often harmonically and rhythmically sophisticated tour de force. There is only one change in the Headhunters lineup -- swapping drummer Harvey Mason for Mike Clark -- and the switch results in grooves that are even more complex. Hancock continues to reach into the rapidly changing high-tech world for new sounds, most notably the metallic sheen of the then-new ARP string synthesizer which was already becoming a staple item on pop and jazz-rock records. Again, there are only four long tracks, three of which ("Palm Grease," "Actual Proof," "Spank-A-Lee") concentrate on the funk, with plenty of Hancock's wah-wah clavinet, synthesizer textures and effects, and electric piano ruminations that still venture beyond the outer limits of post-bop. The change-of-pace is one of Hancock's loveliest electric pieces, "Butterfly," a match for any tune he's written before or since, with shimmering synth textures and Bennie Maupin soaring on soprano (Hancock would re-record it 20 years later on Dis Is Da Drum, but this is the one to hear). This supertight jazz-funk quintet album still sounds invigorating a quarter of a century later. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released March 6, 1968 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released October 1, 1980 | Contemporary Jazz Masters

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Jazz - Released November 22, 2013 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz - Released November 22, 2013 | Columbia - Legacy

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Obviously these three have known each other since the playground days − almost at least… During the summer of 1977, the ex-virtuosos of Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet locked themselves up in the Automatt, a studio in San Francisco, to remind those who may have forgotten how perfect their complicity could sound. These sessions gave birth to two albums: Third Plane with Milestone and Herbie Hancock Trio with Columbia. Same story five years later with a similar exercise released under the title Herbie Hancock Trio With Ron Carter & Tony Williams. Each of them included a personal theme (Dolphin Dance for Hancock, Slight Smile for Carter and Maison Goree for Williams) between two classics (Benny Golson’s Stable Mates and That Old Black Magic by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer), creating a particularly refined atmosphere. The three friends obviously put on hold their fusion/jazz-rock inclinations that had defined their music since the mid-1970s, and went back to a sort of velvety, woody-flavoured hard pop. The (new) revolution clearly wasn’t yet on the agenda. But robust swing and inspired improvisations clearly were! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released February 1, 1978 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz - Released September 16, 2008 | Columbia

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Blue Note Records

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Less overtly adventurous than its predecessor, Empyrean Isles, Maiden Voyage nevertheless finds Herbie Hancock at a creative peak. In fact, it's arguably his finest record of the '60s, reaching a perfect balance between accessible, lyrical jazz and chance-taking hard bop. By this point, the pianist had been with Miles Davis for two years, and it's clear that Miles' subdued yet challenging modal experiments had been fully integrated by Hancock. Not only that, but through Davis, Hancock became part of the exceptional rhythm section of bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams, who are both featured on Maiden Voyage, along with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and tenor saxophonist George Coleman. The quintet plays a selection of five Hancock originals, many of which are simply superb showcases for the group's provocative, unpredictable solos, tonal textures, and harmonies. While the quintet takes risks, the music is lovely and accessible, thanks to Hancock's understated, melodic compositions and the tasteful group interplay. All of the elements blend together to make Maiden Voyage a shimmering, beautiful album that captures Hancock at his finest as a leader, soloist, and composer. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Jazz - Released November 22, 2013 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz - Released April 18, 1969 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

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As one of the first albums Herbie Hancock recorded after departing Miles Davis' quintet in 1968, as well as his final album for Blue Note, The Prisoner is one of Hancock's most ambitious efforts. Assembling a nonet that features Joe Henderson (tenor sax, alto flute), Johnny Coles (flugelhorn), Garnett Brown (trombone), Buster Williams (bass), and Albert "Tootie" Heath (drums), he has created his grandest work since My Point of View. Unlike that effort, The Prisoner has a specific concept -- it's a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, evoking his spirit and dreams through spacious, exploratory post-bop. Often, the music doesn't follow conventional patterns, but that doesn't mean that it's alienating or inaccessible. It is certainly challenging, but Hancock's compositions (and his arrangement of Charles Williams' "Firewater") have enough melody and space to allow listeners into the album. Throughout the record, Hancock, Coles, and Henderson exchange provocative, unpredictable solos that build upon the stark melodies and sober mood of the music. The tone is not of sorrow or celebration, but of reflection and contemplation, and on that level, The Prisoner succeeds handsomely, even if the music meanders a little too often to be judged a complete success. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo